• A Short Story
    /extract from 52nd October Salon catalog/

  • Individual and collective memory are the main topics of Hasanović's work, made manifest in videos and photography to performance art, drawing and installation. In his videos - which are marked by simple editing, clear and narrative shots - dialogues and monologues provide primary storytelling tools. Using skillful editing to increase the dramatic effect of the narrative, this young Bosnian artist highlights the notions of selective memory and credibility of described historical events.

    The film presented in this exhibition explores the recording of a story, or rather, its interpretation based on oral testimony. By way of a lyrical introduction, a landscape shot is accompanied by sounds of nature, which are then intensified to a point where they become indistinguishable, and even begin to resemble the threatening sounds of war. After a moment of deafening silence, the narrator begins a tale which, as we learn at the beginning, has been told from one generation to another. The story, or rather a prophecy told at the beginning of the World War II, originated at the birthplace of the narrator's ancestors. He then delivers a colorful description of when and how the story was conceived. The tone of his voice and his gestures intensify with the telling of the prophecy, based on the mystical book Kasida. The prophecy speaks about past events and foretells new ones, detailing many tragedies that occurred in the second half of the 20th century in former Yugoslavia.

    Our knowledge of how the events unfolded supports the credibility of the story, although it is not fully clear if the past and the future are discussed in relation to given information or solid facts, or whether it is all a work of fiction. Selective memories of individuals keep adding and erasing events in stories transmitted from one generation to another. The artist simulates an entire situation based on a personal testimony. By making a video recording of an oral account. Hasanović is perhaps terminating its natural evolution.

    The end of the film leaves the viewer puzzled. There is no catharsis, no rational conclusion. Is it fiction or reality? What comes next? The faces of children (the audience shown in the last minutes of the film, with whom we empathize) show mixed feeling ranging between horror and fear, to disbelief and wonder. The film relays a clear message about the importance of oral tradition in the Balkans, but leaves the question of fiction, or interpretation of reality, unanswered.

    Alenka Gregorić
    Ljubljana, September 2011.